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"Truth Will Out"

Molly Ivins, in THE PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE, made a list of the Acting President's "verbal gaffes, boners, grammatical errors, and immortal contributions to logic." They are impressive. Her favorite is his description of the enemy: "those hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat." Mine was the bit that she says he then added: "Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction." This one is not a malapropism, like the other.

The Acting President, who is a chronic liar, lost his grip on falsehood, and let the truth out. It happens every once in a while. "Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction." It turns out that the obvious inference is also true: the nation with the largest number of all the various kinds of weapons of mass destruction, along with the required delivery systems to make them effective, IS NOT FREE.

The accounting of how many atomic bombs we have, how many biologically lethal warheads we have and where they are, how many toxic chemical warheads we have and where they all are -- all of that is secret, kept secret from the formerly free citizens of a nation that is no longer free. Secrecy squelches freedom. "Don't ask," they say. "You don't want to know," they say. "Deja de pensar" [leave off thinking], they say.

Mark Twain put it very plainly a hundred years ago, when the United States was conquering the Philippine Islands, adding them to our newly-acquired empire. That empire included Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam, Hawaii and the Panama Canal Zone. Twain stated, "You cannot have an empire abroad and a democratic republic at home." Free democratic republics don't develop weapons of mass destruction, just as our momentarily truthful acting president recently said.

He didn't mean to say it. He certainly didn't mean to reveal that we as a nation, armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction, spending more on war than all the rest of the world taken together, are not free. He loves to label us as "free," and everyone else as somewhat less so, and envious of our freedom. Of course, he cannot be blamed for inventing that ploy.

I remember living in Fascist Spain under Generalissimo Franco in 1956, when all those U.S. military bases were being built in Spain, our president [it was Ike, then] called Spain a part of "the free world." He meant it wasn't Communist, which it wasn't, but it wasn't free in any meaningful sense either.

Why we victims of all the oppressive measures in the so-called Patriot Act allow the acting president to lie about our freedom, and grin while he lies -- it is a puzzle to me. And it is even more of a puzzle to me that so few people, including pundits and current historians, seem untroubled by the assumption that it's acceptable for this nation to have thousands of weapons of mass destruction, and it's not acceptable that Iraq, or Iran, or North Korea, have any. What kind of double standard is this? When did we become morally superior to the small countries of the world, and what does that moral superiority consist of?

If it is bad for those little countries to have weapons of mass destruction, why isn't it worse for big bully countries who use pre-emptive war as a declared policy to have them? Where is the groundswell of demand that that bully country [I mean the USA, that not-free "super-power" country] get rid of its weapons of mass destruction?

Well, it turns out there was a sort of protest, almost entirely unreported in the US media, at the recent Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. I found this story by Jonathan Schell in THE NATION [May 23, 2005]. There are a group of small nations who want the major nuclear powers to get on with the dismantling of their nuclear weapons, which the treaty calls for but isn't happening.

The have-nations, led by the USA, insist on discussing nothing but the notion that no new nuclear powers should come into being. They seem worried about Iran and North Korea. So the have-not-nations protested and the conference broke up without accomplishing anything.

It appears that Iran and North Korea have figured out how to defend against the new US policy of pre-emptive war. The US, knowing that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, invaded Iraq. The US, not knowing for sure whether or not Iran or North Korea have weapons of mass destruction, is not invading those countries, nor even bombing them. Of course the US can't invade because there are no troops to send, but that's another matter, one we should also be concerned about.

The upshot is that part of the task of regaining our freedom will have to include getting rid of our weapons of mass destruction. Let Los Alamos retool. They could invent the badly-needed solutions to our ravenous appetite for energy, and forswear altogether any type of weapons of mass destruction. Maybe we could recover our freedom in the middle of that process. We won't be free as long as we constitute such a threat to the rest of the world. Our moral superiority is a myth, and a very dangerous myth at that. The danger lies in the minds of those people who believe it, given the positions of power that they occupy.

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Copyright © 2005 Harry Willson

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